Monday, February 28, 2011

Alex's 28th email from Chile 2/28/11

 Alan & Alex February 27, 2011

Hola Familia!

Psh I get on and have a couple messages from mom saying I hope we get a better response than that. I was like "what?"  I thought I sent a pretty good letter haha.  Then mom apologizes later haha (This is in reference to last week because we got his longer email two hours after the short one where he said he didn't have time to answer our questions)

But this week was flippin spectacular!  I don't know how the weeks can keep getting better.  Especially better than this past one.  So we had a pretty legit multi zone conference and it was awesome.  I really enjoyed the lessons President King taught us about being better teachers and how we need to ask heaven inspired questions to open up the investigator and to really listen to the response.  Also that same day we heard that Elder Champion (my buddy) was going to the temple with their investigator and we were like "what! we want to go with Alan" so we asked and got special permission from President because of how awesome Alan is. So we went to the temple and Alan loved it and is soo excited.  He was like "when is the quickest I can go to the temple?" and we told him and he is like "I want to go that day and do baptisms."  I cannot even explain to you how special Alan is.  

Elder Diaz, Alan & Alex at the Chile Santiago Temple & MTC
(MTC = Missionary Training Center)

If you didn't know the Chile MTC is on the temple grounds or like connected to it. Elder Diaz made good friends with the teachers there and we got special permission to bring Alan and Elder Champion's investigator in to get a tour and meet all the missionaries.  We walk in and Alan leans over to me and Diaz and says "there is something special about this place I can feel it."  The teacher asked Alan to share the reason why he was getting baptized. Alan shares this awesome testimony and had all of the hermanas crying.  This kid is awesome. So that was awesome.

Elder Diaz, Alan, Alex, ?, ?, Elder Champion

Then friday we helped this family move into our ward and we were moving this huge entertainment center and the two other guys dropped it on me!!  I bruised up my arm so bad but no worries now it was fine but i was like "psh you are not even gonna warn me!"

But I know you are all waiting to hear about sunday.  I couldnt even wait for Sunday to come.  I felt like some little kid on Christmas eve.  The night before I had everything ready, my white pants, my long white sleeve shirt ironed and ready, white tie rolled up, Alans clothes all folded and in plastic bags.  I was ready to go. Alarm goes off, I shoot out of bed, pray, shower, totally just ready like an 2 hours before church starts.  We go to church. Everyone is offically back from break school starts this week. Alan shows up with his great grandmother I learned.  She is awesome she said during a class that she is the happiest grandmother on earth being able to watch her great grandson get baptized.  Oh! during the sacrament meeting Juan was confirmed and I got to stand in the circle.  That is always the coolest feeling to do that.  After the classes ended Alan's dad showed up.  He drove 3 hours to come to his baptism and he cried through the whole thing. It was pretty neat to watch.  Me and Alan changed, took pictures, Diaz gave a short talk and then I baptized Alan Gino Canales Guzman. It was sooooo cool.  That is something I will never forget and I am soo happy that Alan was my first one I did cause he is just so special.  He truly was one of the Elect of God waiting for the gospel to find him.  Then we changed and ended the meeting.  It was super cool.  All the youth stayed to watch and greet him after.  Some people asked me if I was worried about him when me and Diaz leave.  I said "no", he truly is special and will be a huge blessing to the church one day I can feel it.  He just has this spirit about him that I can't explain. 

Elder Diaz, Alan & Alex February 27, 2011

Haha funny story,  there is this inactive kid in our ward.  He told us he was baptized because the he was told to by the missionaries.  Some people are dumb, but ya we have gotten him to come to church the last two weeks but the kid has an earring and me and Diaz took it form him and now I've got it one my desk.  I am keeping a collection of the first of something I took from people.  Like I got the first box of cigarretes and coffee and now earing haha.  

Today for pday we did something special.  We went to the Santa Lusia.  It is like this mountain palace slash castle thing.  It was pretty cool and took some legit pictures.  I got a ton of pictures this week.  Also I bought myself the most awesome jacket.  I will take a picture and show you next week but I am super excited about it haha.

Questions, I think the average is about 2-3 changes (I asked Alex what the average length is for missionaries to stay in specific areas).  This is elder Diaz 3rd change here.  It's like 3 changes in an area and 2 with the same comp.

I think with Alan and everything here his brother Billy will get reactivated or at least I pray so cause he is soo legit.  All he told me was that all he wants was to go to the temple with his mom and brother.  Gabriella is good just hard to get in contact with she is never home.  The other lady is good.  We have had one lesson with her.  Her husband is going to be a problem though which is a bummer.  My eye is fine totally healed :)  Tell dad to look up La Cisterna Gran Avenida with Santa Clara and right there where they both meet is the pizza hut  I will try to get the excact adress for him.

Well I love you all enjoy the pictures love you!!

Elder Alex Leavitt

Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Beloved Firefighters in Chile

Firefighters in Chile are called bomberos. The Chilean people love the firefighters. In fact, they are more highly regarded and trusted than the police or other government services.
This is partly due to the fact that there are no paid firefighters in Chile. Each firefighter serves without promise of reward or payment. This altruistic labor seems to attract those that are most likely to serve the community well.

Chile’s Oldest Firefighter Company

fire station
Before firefighting companies were formed, fires would often burn entire blocks down to the ground. In answer to this great problem, communities started to organize forces to combat the fires.
The first Chilean firefighting company was formed in the port city of Valparaíso in 1851. It was originally funded by wealthy merchantmen who brought equipment and supplies from their home countries. Thereafter, other companies started forming across Chile in a similar pattern.

Chile’s All Volunteer Firefighters

fire truck
Unlike Carabineros, the Chilean national police force, there is no uniform national firefighting organization.
Each region, city, or sub-section of the city has different firefighter companies. Many of these companies carry the names originally given them by the European colonists that formed them in the late 1800′s.
These volunteer firefighter companies are responsible for the purchase and upkeep of their equipment, fire houses, and trucks. They must also pay for any training or new skills that they need.
National government funding for the Chilean firefighters only accounts for 30% of their expenses. This puts the burden of financing efforts on the local government, community, and the volunteers themselves.

How do you call the firefighters?

In case of emergency, you can always use the national emergency phone numbers used in Chile. For the bomberos, dial 132.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Alex's 27th email 2/21/11

So I got home from Utah still sick and I napped off and on the couch all night before going to bed.  Instead of getting up with Sarah for seminary I kept sleeping which I needed.  When the alarm went off I went to get up but Fred had set it early to get up to do his scripture study and he told me to go back to bed.  I was already to do that and decided to get up.  As I was coming down the stairs I realized it was Monday morning and I was late getting Alex's email out.  I felt terrible!  I rushed to get it done hoping I got it sent in time.  You never know with cyberspace, time changes and when they get to a computer.  I got this strange email from him a bit ago that said he had just read my email but didn't have time to answer my questions.  I was sad thinking that was all we were going to get.  About an hour later this showed up and it was written before the other email.  Strange eh?  Well at least he did eventually get our email before he got offline.  He'll have more questions to answer next week and I won't have just traveled and hopefully won't be sick and will remember on Sunday to write him :)

Hola familia!

So what happened?  I didn't get an email from you guys this week sad day.  But this week was awesome! First, so Alan came back from vacation and we told him that because he missed two Sundays he had to wait till March 5th for his baptism but then he started bawling he felt soo bad!  So throughout that week we talked with President King told him everything about Alan how special this kid is, how we both have never seen or heard anybody with this much desire and want to be baptized and asked if he can keep his original baptismal date. In the end President King said he can keep his original date!  So this Sunday Alan will be baptized!!! and he asked me to baptize him!!! Ugh! I am sooo excited.  I love this kid to death he is so amazing and spiritual and when he said he wanted me to baptize him I was just super excited! He is the first investigator that I actually found to be baptized.  I am so stoked.  It will be my first time to actually do that baptism and everything.  I am just soo excited and just super happy if you couldn't tell.  I couldn't help but tell you guys that first cause I was just super stoked and have been waiting awhile to tell you guys, so ya I will be doing my first baptism this Sunday.  I am sooo excited!

Ok soo cool, so it is super hot like I have told you many times before so we stopped by a members house who has some ridiculous youth haha.  We were there drinking our coca-cola when Benjamin was like "hey your sister is on facebook haha"  I was like "what?"  I guess he friend requested Alycia, Sarah, and Kira because he thinks they are all pretty haha.  I was like "which one?"  he says "the super blonde one".  So I told him to say "HI SHISHA!" and they started talking.  I thought is was pretty cool.  Every now and then I would have him ask her questions like "how is kira and life and what not"  it was just a random coincidence that I thought was cool. On the same topic, in my ward there is a perfecional translater named Carolina in my ward and her English is perfect better than mine, and we had a noche de hogar ( family home evening) with her and her family and we walk in and the first thing she says was like YOUR SISTER IS PREGNANT!!!  Ii was like I know! haha  It was so funny.  Apparently she has been talking with mom. But I have come up with some awesome family home evening activities and classes they are legit.  I am pretty proud of them.  We have started to do alot of family home evenings in our ward so we can get them more active and help us with the missionary work.  So I have had to come up with spiritual thoughts spiritual activities and games and I will be honest they are awesome haha.

I will be honest I am all confused cause I don't have questions that I need to answer in my letter haha but I will continue with what I got. Juan has been pretty sick this last week like super bad.  But on Sunday he was good enough to come to church which I was happy about. Church this week was a special one it was stake conference where is was a satellite broad cast of Elder Packer, D. Todd Christopherson, a seventy and sister Dalton.  It was all especially for Chile and it was super legit because all of them but sister Dalton knew Spanish so it was cool to hear what type of accent they had and what not.  But super cool was Alan went and it was super directed for the youth and missions and what not and he loved it.

Cool little story, we had a lesson with Alan and I asked what he had done so far in the day.  He was like I woke up, read the Book of Mormon, went to the pool, then went to my grandmas to read the Book of Mormon with her and then came back and you guys showed up.  I was like "dude you are a saint I love you."

Also,  I am super sick of Corn.  They eat so much Corn here it is ridiculous.  They eat it in all forms too. Mashed, fried, corn on the cob, in soup, just stripped corn stuff, it is ridiculous but I am tired of corn.  Just thought I would let you know. haha.

Well I thought I would end with telling you how happy I am.  We were teaching Alan a lesson about obedience and we were ending and then a scripture popped into my head Mosiah 2:41 and it says that we need to remember the happy and blessed state of those saints that keep the commandments and talks more but I was like this is soo true cause I have never been more happy in my life than I am right now.  Mainly because never in my life have I been more obedient to the commandments of God.  There is such a huge difference between when we are obedient and not.  You can see it, in your life in the lifes of other people,  most importantly you can feel it, or at least I can.  Just cause you are obedient doesn't mean bad stuff won't happen to you but when you are obedient you have the spirit with you and it just doesn't matter, you are so happy it doesn't matter.  Ya it happened but it doesn't effect you as badly.  I don't know, when I shared this scripture with him I was just like, "I am so happy it is ridiculous and I know for a fact my happiness comes from the fact that I am following the commandments of God and because I am humbling myself before him and letting him guide my life."

I love you all and pray you are letting God direct you and bless you in your lives.  Remember the happy and blessed state of the saints who keep the commandments of God, and that wickedness never was happiness.

Con Mucho Amor,
                           Elder Alex Leavitt

P.S. I sent kira a letter, but I think I wrote the address wrong, can you let me know if it gets there or not.

Here's the first email I got when I thought we weren't going to get anything else.  It's still strange that he sent this 30 minutes after the first one but I got this one first:

hey so I just finished reading your email.  I don't have enough time to answer your questions but I hope you realize we were at the kids house and we did not go into an internet cafe haha.  That is very illegal for us to do haha just clarifying (I wrote in his letter that I thought they were in an internet cafe getting a reprieve from the heat and the kid logged onto facebook.  Even though Alex's told us the story in his email he obviously had to make sure we understood he was not at an internet cafe and they got some reprieve from the heat at a members home)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Alex's 26th email 2/14/11

I could not post Alex's email until Kira gave us the a-okay because he mentions something in it.  Our family has experienced yet another miracle and we are overcome with joy & tears!!

Hola Familia!!

WOW! I will be honest.  I got a little teary eyed, (but didn't make it obvious for I am in a crowded cyber haha), when I heard about Kira.  I am so excited for her :) Felicitaciones KIRA!!!!!!!!!! (After years of trying and two adoptions Kira & Justin are expecting their first baby.  Yes, you read this correctly......she is PREGNANT. This is truly a miracle!!)

So this week was a little slow cause no one was here but we had some weird stuff go down here in Chile this week. So remember how I have been complaining about the flippin heat here?  Well, on Wednesday we had a freak thunder storm.  It was insane it was like the first time in forever that they had a thunderstorm in the middle of summer.   We were at the house of our ward mission leader when it started and their son who is legit he is four his name is Thomas was like DRAGONS!!! and started flippin out haha so ya cool.  The next day Thursday it just poured and for the first time in my mission I used my umbrella. Friday we were back to our normal blazing heat and it was terrible. Yes and there was a 7.0 earthquake in conception again.  I didn't feel anything but we had people tell us that their houses were moving and what not but we were not affected at all. 

But also we had a ton of drunken encounters this week. One of them was insane! I don't remember what day but we were walking and this drunk came up to us and started talking.  He apparently is in love with boxing and was like in love with me cause I guess I look like some boxer he really likes and kept calling me classic clay (the guy must have really been drunk because Cassius Clay is known as Muhammad Ali. I can understand how they would mistake Alex for German but not for Muhammad Ali).  But he was insane.  We were talking and then he slaps me across the face! I was like ""what the!" and then he takes my hand and slaps himself across the face, then he laughs gives me a hug and gives me a huge kiss on the neck!!  After he asks me to kiss him. I just started laughing and was like "sorry man not gonna happen".  But all in all I am kinda tired with dealing with so many drunk people cause not all of them are o friendly. 

I don't know if I had told you guys about an investigator named Gabriela and her family before, but we had lost contact with her for like a month and everytime we would pass  by they wouldn't be home.  On Tuesday we had to quickly run into the Santa Isabel to buy tape for something we needed and she was there with her two kids. We said hi and they invited us over to their place a little later so we went and turns out she had been reading the Book of Mormon the whole time we were out of contact!  She said she loves how clear and to the point the Book of Mormon is and she had some awesome questions about everything and showed some strong interest in baptism.   After the lesson she was like "can you guys accept gifts?" and we were like "ya we think so" and she gives us Ties! awesome haha.  She is progressing slowly but is really good.  She is awesome. 

Also for like the last two weeks there has been a huge evangelico convention here in Lo Ovalle!   They are everywhere and from all different countries.  I guess there is a pastor and his wife here from the states some lady told us but I haven't seen him though.  On Sunday it was insane!   They were basically just lining all the streets in my sector preaching.  What they do is they get in a group of like 4 or 5 people, stand there and just start yelling scriptures and doctrine and what not.  It was insane cause there were hundreds & hundreds of people just yelling different scriptures and what not.  Funniest part was Elder Diaz and I were the only ones in the street cause it was early in the morning and Chileans don't wake up until 12 o'clock haha so I thought it was a little funny. 

Samantha told us she wants to be baptized again she is honestly the cutest little girl I have ever seen. The
lady in the picture with Juan is his wife Carmen haha. Alan will probably be baptized on the 5th of March and the earliest Samantha could be baptized is the 12th of March how cool would that be? (March 12th is Alex's birthday)
The ward started to come back this Sunday things should start getting more back to normal this week I believe. The Youth are lazy.  What else could you expect?  They will take longer than most people but they come to play soccer with us every Monday guess you can see what the priority of teenage guys are right?   Funny story, my favorite youth in our ward came back on Sunday and we were visiting with his family and he was like "hey your sister had a birthday right?"  I was like "ya on the 3rd why?"  he was like "oh I saw it on facebook and sent her a message saying happy birthday"  This kid is ridiculous but awesome haha.  Also we found this lady who just moved into Lo Ovalle like last month and we have a cita with her today right after P-Day ends.  Wish me luck cause I have a really good feeling about her for some reason.  I just pray her husband is as open as she is that is usually the determinator.

I love you guys.  Kira I am still super pumped and excited about hearing your news :) Ok cuidense.  I love you all.  My Spanish is a lot better now.  Choa!
         Elder Alexander Leavitt